History of Country
Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries. Over two thirds of its population live on less than $1 a day. Around 80 percent of Malians rely on agriculture for survival and many have been affected by desertification and recurrent drought.
There are widespread food shortages in the country, particularly in the north where the 2005 food crisis affected more than a million people in Mali and Niger.
Prolonged drought and locust invasions devastated the 2005 harvest, leaving people with little or no food. Seeds that should have been planted for the 2006 harvests were eaten leaving no food stocks available.
Food prices have more than doubled in markets. This has forced many people to abandon their villages to search for food in the desert. Some people have headed to towns and cities, while others have migrated to neighbouring countries to escape the shortages.
Many pastoralist communities have settled in Mali. These nomadic herdsmen rely on livestock for survival and often spend years building up their herds. Thousands of animals died as a result of the food crisis, leaving many pastoralists with very little to rebuild their lives with.
The food crisis has also slowed down development in the country. Many aid agencies have postponed projects because resources are scarce and it is difficult for local communities to take part.
Islamic Relief's History
Over half of all school-age children are not enrolled in primary school
IR began working in Mali in 1997, helping people affected by civil war in the northern regions. We now work in three areas of Mali: Gourma Rharous in the north, Ouelessebougou in the south and the central areas surrounding the capital, Bamako.
IR was one of the first organisations to reach some of the worst affected regions during the 2005 food crisis. Ninety-five tonnes of food was distributed to over 30,000 people in Gourma Rharous as part of our emergency response.
Today, IR’s work in Mali is focused on long-term development. This includes projects covering water and sanitation, education, community-based development and child-friendly villages. We also run the Orphan Sponsorship programme in Mali, which includes food and clothes distributions as well as monthly sponsorship.